Compassionate prosperity and the Canadian Ideal of Good Business

At CPA Canada, we champion the Canadian Ideal of Good Business. And, as our new video series shows, so do CPAs.

As CPAs, we know our work goes far beyond the bottom line. While we are rooted in the world of business and finance, we are also firmly committed to social development and sustainability. At the same time, as Canadians, we live by certain values – such as fairness, equality and inclusiveness – that define us as a nation.

This tripartite focus – a commitment to social good and economic prosperity, allied with uniquely Canadian values – is what we at CPA Canada believe is the Canadian Ideal of Good Business. And this ideal, quite simply, defines who we are, as individual CPAs and as a profession as a whole. It’s what makes us unique. “It’s in our DNA,” says Joy Thomas, president and CEO, CPA Canada.

As the national representative for the profession on the global stage, CPA Canada naturally lives by this ideal. As the 2016-17 annual report explains, “CPA Canada’s objective is to advance the Canadian economy, Canadian values and the Canadian CPA designation on the world stage. These goals are deeply connected to our mission: to act in the public interest, support members and contribute to both economic and social development. We call this approach the Canadian ideal of good business.”

As one way of showing our commitment to this purpose, CPA Canada has produced a video series with short profiles on members who demonstrate the Canadian ideal in their work. This series is introduced by Thomas, who explains the background behind the ideal.

“The Canadian Ideal of Good Business takes a long-term view of the world and our role and our responsibility in it. The world has changed a lot – it’s very volatile, very uncertain. And, today, businesses are looking not just at the bottom line, but also at the way that they give back to their communities and their environment. It’s the intersection and bringing together of both of those elements that shape the ideal of good business to me.”

Among all CPA Canada’s initiatives, there is perhaps no greater indication of our commitment to the Canadian ideal than our volunteer programs. By enthusiastically embracing these programs, members show their own deep commitment as well.

For example, more than 11,000 members have volunteered for the CPA Canada Financial Literacy program, in which they deliver financial literacy sessions to communities across Canada. Other members participate in the CPA Martin accounting mentorship program, which encourages Indigenous students to stay in high school and pursue post-secondary educations in business, accounting and finance.

For CPA Canada, then, the Canadian ideal is “much more than a tagline,” says Thomas. “And, It’s up to CPA Canada to help remind our members of this remarkable work that they’re doing across this country and internationally.”

As Heather Whyte, senior vice-president, Marketing, Communications and Public Affairs, CPA Canada, explains, “It’s at the heart of what we do.” Here are a few examples.

  • Just as Canada belongs to the G7 in spite of its relatively small market size, CPA Canada punches above its weight in terms of its importance in influencing standard setting.
  • Since unification, CPA Canada has continued to extend our influence, and the Canadian CPA designation is now used by more than 210,000 members in Canada and abroad. Given that CPAs espouse the ideal by the very nature of their work, their positive influence cannot help but be felt in the business world as a whole, both nationally and internationally.
  • We are looking to the future by launching Foresight, an innovative project that will explore how technology, geopolitical instability, changing societal perspectives, and environmental and economic issues are driving unprecedented change in the accounting profession. CPA Canada is asking CPAs and others to join in a conversation to reimagine how these drivers of change will shape the future of the profession.
  • We are continuing to address global challenges such as climate change and climate change adaptation through our work in climate-related financial disclosures and integrated reporting.
  • We are working with and through members on the RAISE program, which, as Thomas explains, is “all about creating resilient, adaptable, innovative organizations that lead to sustainable enterprises.” 
  • As always, we promote good public policy to governments, members and other stakeholders.

Find out more about how CPA Canada and individual CPAs are embracing their higher purpose through the Canadian Ideal of Good Business.


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